July 2018 Rwanda Trip Update
Dr. Alan Graustein and I completed our second trip to Rwanda in May, this time with a wonderful team of 15 from NYC, FL, NH and Belgium. We traveled via bus visiting and praying for some of our 126 sponsored kids throughout the country in their various schools. Secondary students, grades 7-12, attend boarding schools in Rwanda, such as Diana at Gihogwe Secondary School above. Every student we met was very grateful for the gift of education provided by GB and RCEF supporters. We visited and prayed for their widow mothers or single moms, whose husbands have abandoned them, in their homes in Kigali.
The poverty we saw was quite severe. The stench in the dirt roads and alleys, leading to the small two-room, mud brick homes (without electricity or indoor plumbing) of the mothers of sponsored children, struck Joan Graustein who had seen many pictures prior to this first visit of hers. Joan works closely in NH with Jeanine Mukarubega, Executive Director of the Rwanda Children Education Foundation (RCEF), which coordinates the education and mentoring, micro-businesses and government health care of children and their parents in Rwanda. RCEF also provides sponsorships and micro-business financing. Global Benefit raises money to further the work of RCEF and other indigenous foundations in Rwanda.
Kingdom Facilitators (KF) is made up of NYC and FL successful business entrepreneurs, also pastors and elders in their church, who donate their own time and money and also receive funds from their vibrant Latin church in the Bronx who love to support their worldwide projects. After assessing the needs and opportunities in Kigali, a city of one million and one of the safest in the world, KF proposed a business plan to buy 5 motorcycles for parents of sponsored children to own and use or rent as taxis. In short time the loan will be paid off and the vehicle owned by the parent, taking them out of poverty. Eventually this will enable them to pay for their children’s education. After the loan for each motorcycle is paid off, another motor cycle will be purchased for another parent and so forth. Business skills will be taught and accountability provided along the way.
KF also committed to sponsor 50 students taking us to 176 students in Grades 1 - 12. Four more sponsorships coming soon will bring our total to 180 as we begin the second half of this calendar year. Our goal is 200 by the end of 2018, and 300 by the end of 2019 in preparation for building a Christian school, grades 7 - 12, one of our five initial initiatives.
There are three good Christian elementary schools in Kigali with happy kids where we want to send more of our sponsored children, and we need a 7-12 Christian school for these elementary students in or around Kigali with a strong academic and spiritual life plus a strong technical and vocational training component for students, graduates, parents, and adults. Presently, our children are scattered in many types of schools all over greater Kigali and the country.
Hector Melo, husband of KF's lead couple, said that his and KF’s passion is to build, and in this case, to build a school over sponsorships alone. Hector spoke passionately of the tremendous blessing of a strong Christian school in the lives of his children, an inner-city school comprised of minorities and immigrants in one of America’s poorest communities in upper most Manhattan. Hector assured us that God already has the money for the school, so he urged us to move in that direction, upon board approval. This was the most defining moment of the trip and a confirmation from the Lord, we believe. Prior to building a secondary school, we would like to raise $60,000 for one of the three Christian elementary schools, presently PreK - Grade 2, to add 6 classes and expand to 6th grade at $10k per classroom.
Also much progress was accomplished during our trip to enable many widowed and single mothers of sponsored children to be funded and trained in micro-businesses beyond the micro-business venture proposed by KF. We will say more on this in the future.
Thanks to your support through GB and RCEF, the woman pictured above is beginning to experience the hope we are striving to bring to those living in extreme poverty and distress. At age six, she was hacked by machete on the legs, back, and head and left for dead during the Genocide Against the Tutsi in 1994. She survived but lost her 9 siblings, her parents, and all extended family members. She has battled mental trauma, has been in and out of the hospital most of her life, and her two daughters were conceived while she was in a blacked out condition. Her faith in the Lord is strong, and now that her girls have been in school for six months, she has a renewed hope and has not been back to the hospital for over 10 months. She picks up odd jobs from time to time and could truly benefit from a micro-business opportunity we hope to provide soon.
Please pray for:
The spiritual and academic growth of our sponsored students and for the welfare of the single (in nearly all cases) parent/grandparent/sibling/relative raising each sponsored child
Rich blessings for our current generous supporters such as Kingdom Facilitators, Premier Designs, and individuals around the country
Additional supporters for sponsorships providing school fees, uniforms, school materials, government health insurance for the entire family, and mentoring
Additional supporters for micro-business financing
RCEF staff and volunteers in Rwanda and NH
Global Benefit staff and board as they plan and raise support for the work in Rwanda
Thank you for your participation!